Technology Continues to Change Baseball

tech in baseball

Keeping up with the latest sports news for baseball might be depressing for longtime fans of the sport. It’s been a rough few years for Major League Baseball, and the sport continues to lose fans at an alarming rate.

There have been a number of changes made to the sport over the past decade, and not all of them have been good changes. Most of these changes have also come in the form of technology, and that’s a trend that isn’t going to go away. 

Baseball is known as “America’s pastime,” and it’s a game that can be played at a very young age. With the way that technology has taken over in the United States, it was only a matter of time before it seeped into the game at the Major League level.

Regardless of what you think about technology, it’s hard to ignore the impact that it has had on the game today. 

Sabermetrics Set the Tone

The first time that technology really started to impact the game of baseball was when a man by the name of Bill James introduced sabermetrics. Sabermetrics is the study of baseball, but it takes a close look at statistics to find some truths. 

When Bill James first introduced this theory, it didn’t catch on quickly. Those that had spent their entire life in baseball were not willing to take a look at this information and use it when building a ball club.

That all started to change when Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics used sabermetrics as a background to his “Moneyball” strategy. Instead of overpaying for players, Beane would use Sabermetrics to create a roster that could be competitive on a yearly basis. 

This moneyball strategy has been copied and used by other teams as well, but it doesn’t always work. 

Statcast, Analytics Dictate Moves

Sabermetrics is now a common term that is used in Major League Baseball, but there are other key term that play a large role as well. Statcast and analytics are two of those terms, and they aren’t just used by owners and other people in the front office.

If you have watched a baseball game over the last 10 years, you will have noticed that managers and pitching coaches have a binder or a paper with information on it. This information is all about analytics and that information is usually what dictates a manager’s moves in-game. 

Most in-game decisions used to be made by feel or intuition, and managers would trust certain players and certain situations. That is no longer the case, and managers will only do what that information tells them to do.

Managers sometimes make decisions that frustrate the average fan, but there is a reason that the moves are being made. 

Sign Stealing

Stealing signs has been a common occurrence in baseball since the game was invented, and teams are always looking to gain an edge. There are some unwritten rules when it comes to stealing signs, but everyone was aware that it was going on.

Over the last five years, sign stealing has become a major issue, and something that helped the Astros win a World Series. Houston had an elaborate system for stealing signs, but reportedly they weren’t the only one doing this at that level.

Because sign stealing has become easier and easier, MLB recently introduced new technology to prevent this from happening. Catchers can now call signs electronically through a wrist band, and that information will then be transmitted to pitchers on the mound. 

Robot Umps Are Coming

One form of technology that is not at the Major League level yet is robot umpires. In the 2022 season, robot umpires are going to be used at the Triple A level, and that could mean that this program is implemented at the MLB level in 2023.

The reason for robot umps is pretty simple as the league listened to players, coaches, and fans complain about strike zones for long enough. Every umpire seemed to have their own interpretation of the strike zone, and it became a big issue. 

There will likely be some issues with robot umpires at first, but it should create a level playing field for everyone in the sport. 

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